RRT Blue Mountains ready to assist

The Blue Mountain’s, west of Sydney is one of the most fire prone areas in the world. With a line of towns stretching through National Parks, 75 000 residents and thousands of tourists, both national and international, travelling through visiting famous landmarks such as The Three Sisters, enjoying a ride into the Jamison valley on the worlds steepest railway or if feeling energetic…..climbing the 1000 steps of the giant stairway to the top.(tongue)

PBCC - Blue Mountains RRT ready to assist

The Three Sisters

All ok ……. until bushfire breaks out somewhere in the 143 000 ha of World Heritage Area, with thousands of tourists to evacuate, bush-walkers and abseilers in the valleys, 27 towns possibly under threat and one major winding highway being shared with panic stricken residents, school buses, ambulances evacuating the many nursing homes and responding fire appliance vehicles.

PBCC - Blue Mountains Bush Fire

Bush Fire – Out of Control

This area with elevations of up to 1200m, has been devastated by bushfire on a regular basis since first crossed by European explorers opening up the country for settlement in 1813.

Major fires have impacted this area in 1901, 1911, 1951, 1957, 1968, 1978, 1994, and more recently in 2002. Leura was devastated in 1957 with over 200 buildings including houses, school, shops and churches destroyed in one afternoon. Since 1911, 580 buildings have been destroyed by bushfire in the Mountains.

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Leura 1957

PBCC - RRT Blue Mountains

Properties Destroyed

For many years, the Brethren living in this area have been actively involved with the Emergency Services, both during major campaign fires assisting with logistics, forklifts supplied with drivers, bulk water supplies for helicopters, evacuation assistance, property protection, and fundraising for local fire stations during the off seasons. Donations have even included new kitchens and seating requirements for some local fire stations.

PBCC -  RRT Blue Mountains

Katoomba and Penrith Brethren members protecting neighbours 2001

During the 1978 fires in Springwood, Brethren assisted fire personnel and the police force not only by providing refreshments and navigators for out of area emergency personnel, but relieved the fire-fighters by manning the fire trucks.

In the 1994 fire season, brethren equipped with private fire appliances, became actively involved in property protection, providing assistance for distressed members of the public who were fleeing from fires and seeking refuge.

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RRT Blue Mountain’s – Tow along Pump Set

PBCC - RRT Blue Mountains

RRT Blue Mountain’s – Fire Truck

PBCC - RRT Blue Mountains

RRT Blue Mountains – Fire Truck On Call

Above is some of the equipment owned and operated by the Brethren.

Although training was undertaken by some members during the 1990s for Basic Fire-fighter Certification, the need for a more organised approach with values placed on control and protection was put into place in November 2006.  Equipment and resource registers were prepared, along with advanced first aid training by personnel  from the Emergency services.

In 2009, due to increasing interest in assisting during these disasters,  the Brethren enlisted the NSW Fire Brigade Comsafe section to train over 30 members on First Attack Fire Fighting, pumper operation,  property protection and evacuation procedures.

PBCC - RRT Blue Mountains

RRT Training 2006

In view of further assistance to the Rural Fire Service with a large number of energetic(mostly), fit (mostly), young (mostly) and sober(always)  willing helpers, a  training program was undertaken by the Blue Mountains Superintendent and his dedicated training team. This resulted in the  training of over 72 personnel to Bushfire Awareness (BFA) level, being excellent for anyone working in areas of assistance to emergency personnel and benefit to members of the public. High priority given to preparation, survival, understanding local conditions, structure of RFS and operations.

PBCC - RRT Blue Mountains

RRT Training 2013

This Rapid Relief Team with years of experience, equipment, training, motivation and insurance for Public Liability/Voluntary Workers cover is willing to help and ‘support the local community in times of need’.

9 thoughts on “RRT Blue Mountains ready to assist”

  1. WOLLY says:

    THIS IS AMAZING I CANT BELIVE MY EYES AND EARS
    I THINK IT IS WELL I JUST CANT BELIVE

  2. Phillip Bradac says:

    I am part of the Hills Strike Teams that have been working in Winmalee and surrounding areas and just wanted to let you know how appreciative we are for the top quality catering that is being provided at Winmalee and delivered to crews in the field. Thank you to all involved.

  3. Bru says:

    Go 4 it comrades!!! Nyyyceee work i’d say!!! Don’t give up… itz VG to see everyone sacrificing time and resource for the the good of others!!! Very noble!

  4. B says:

    This kind of support is brilliant & very much appreciated. We experienced the excellent work of the Brethren in 2001 when fire came so close to our homes. They came around & cleared the house gutters & stayed around the area with their equipment till the danger had passed. When the Government emergency resources were so stretched the work of these guys was very welcome.
    Keep up your devoted commitment to the community. Well done.

  5. Ben says:

    Great to see you guys getting involved…right in the middle of it…and it is also good to see the local authorities allowing volunteers take up such a crucial role in protecting innocent human beings. All the best!

  6. Muzza says:

    A great article. (And very interesting how much training has been done)

    The Brethren Community I live in has 1 in 7 trained First Aiders. And these skills are available whenever there is a need and regardless of who needs the help.

  7. Ping says:

    great work!

  8. UK RRT Team Member says:

    Very encouraging to know that others all over the world are helping support local communities in times of need – a great privilege & responsibility to be part of it!

  9. Unknown says:

    Wow… Luv the Fire Engines 🙂
    Good to know there is young people getting involved with it all and there is people willing to help others when the RRT is needed and doing the training to develop their understanding and skills…
    Will be looking out for the fire engines so I can jump in and have some fun as well…

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